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Electra Loft 7i vs Trek District 4 Equipped

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Electra Loft 7i vs Trek District 4 Equipped

Old 11-21-22, 09:33 PM
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fbirch
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Electra Loft 7i vs Trek District 4 Equipped

Im looking to upgrade my commuter bike, a Fisher Simple City 3. Id like a few more speeds to reduce the big gear steps of the Nexus 3 speed. My usage is commuting to work, about 2 miles each way, running errands to/from local stores (up to 10 mile round trips), and riding for exercise and fun on weekends (up to 30 miles per trip). Im lucky to live near a dedicated bike path that also runs near my office and most of the local stores. It's paved, smooth and flat, but because it sits atop a tall levee, it does expose riders to significant head and tail winds oftentimes.

The two bikes Im considering are the Electra Loft 7i (7 speed Nexus hub) and the Trek District 4 Equipped (8 speed Alfine hub). Looking at the ratios, the 8 speed actually has a couple big steps when shifting up from the 1:1 gear Id be using in "neutral" conditions. The 7 speed has smaller and more consistent gear steps. Based on YT videos from aboutcycling the Alfine 8 has good efficiency in the 1:1 gear and the next gear or two up from there. I have seen no data on Nexus 7 efficiency.

My questions are:

1. Is there an efficiency advantage of the Alfine 8 over the Nexus 7, and if so, is it enough to offset its bigger gear steps?
2. Would you expect the Alfine 8 to be more robust or longer-lasting than the Nexus 7?
3. Any other suggestions on the merits of the two bikes for my intended usage?

Although it would be total overkill for my usage, are there any US sellers offering a commuter bike (lightweight frame, fenders, cargo rack, upright riding position, sloping top tube for good standover clearance, etc.) with a Rohloff speed hub? Im aware a Rohloff-equipped bike would be much pricier than either of the above two candidates, but I think the Rohloff hub is a neat piece of engineering and might be willing to spring for one if it really wowed me.
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Old 11-23-22, 01:00 AM
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The kind of bike you describe isn't typically expensive enough to have a Rohloff or a Pinion from a major manufacturer. Priority has a Pinion bike but I think it's a little more hybrid-ish than comfort-ish. I don't know if anyone is offering a complete bike with a Rohloff except for botique brands.

The District costs >2x more and seems to say "grrr! I am a very serious bike" with zero color and rugged up-to-date componentry while the Electra is definitely going for the twee straw-basket look and might as well have fallen out of a 1973 Schwinn catalog. In spite of that it's funny how similar they are in final shape
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Old 11-23-22, 03:22 PM
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Thanks for the reply, and LOL at your description of the two bikes.

After striking out in my online search for Rohloff-equipped city bikes, I figured there weren't any stateside, probably for the price point reason you mentioned. I did check out the P600 with the 12-speed Pinion. Unfortunately, Pinion went for a very wide gear range in their design (600%, hence the model name of the P600). So even with 12 gear steps, you still end up with fairly big jumps from one gear to the next.

Poking around online, I did come across a handful of technical articles on efficiency of the Shimano hubs, including one ASME paper that contained very good instrumented data and references to prior instrumented studies. It looks as if most of the hubs out there with 1:1 ratios have very good efficiency in that gear. For example, the Alfine 8 is on par with a Rohloff in that one gear and the next one up. So if you pick a crank/sprocket ratio that allows you to use the 1:1 gear most of the time, the Alfine 8 would be a good setup from an efficiency standpoint. Overall, none of the IGHs can match the Rohloff for efficiency across the entire gear range.

I really like my Simple City 3 and wish I could just retrofit an Alfine 8 to it, but I don't think it has quite enough dropout spacing. Most of the LBSs near me seem uninterested in pursuing it.
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Old 11-23-22, 07:31 PM
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What spacing is it? 120 or 126? Does it have a coaster brake? Alfine does not have a coaster brake option. The Nexus 7 does but only at 126mm spacing.

Since you seem willing to nerd out, the ratios on the Pinion are pretty close to the same size (14-16%) as mountain bikes have always been since 3x6 was the norm, and so is the Alfine. They feel good, effective without being too much. The shifts on the Nexus 3 are the traditional that 3-speeds have always been. It seems like the base gearing of the Alfine is chosen to resemble the 3-speed and the base gearing of the Pinion to resemble the MTB hardware.

Typo on chart: SRAM system has 34t ring

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Old 11-25-22, 09:10 AM
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Thanks for that graph. It's nice to see it plotted out like that. The Pinion 12-speed has ratio jumps around 18%. That would be a big improvement over the 33% jumps in my current 3 speed. The Alfine 8 is around 17% and a Rohloff would be 13-14%. For a city bike on flat terrain, but with variable wind conditions, I'd rather have fine-increment adjustability over absolute range.It's good to know that 17% jumps in other applications work well from a user-experience standpoint.

It looks as if the Pinion 12-speed is about 5% less efficient than a Rohloff (On YT, enter "cyclingabout pinion vs rohloff" and skip to the 2:32 mark). I'm not sure how noticeable that would be from a user experience standpoint. But it looks as if the Priority 600 is the only "prepackaged" offering that gives you a city bike with a high-end transmission option. Too bad they don't offer a Rohloff equivalent, as the price point should be about the same.

My old Simple City 3 has about 129-130 mm spacing between the dropouts, which I don't think is wide enough to accommodate any of the good IGH options. It currently has a front caliper brake and a rear coaster brake (which I dislike). It has a threaded boss in the rear to add a caliper brake. If there was a way to squeeze a Rohloff hub in there I'd do it, although the IGH would be worth way more than the rest of the bike!
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Old 11-25-22, 10:51 AM
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You seem to be making a pretty good case to freshen up the bike you have with a Nexus 8 wheel. Same ratios so probably same gearbox as the Alfine 8. Coaster or not, your choice. (The link says "v brake" but the hub doesn't care)

https://productinfo.shimano.com/#/lc/nexus/inter-8

https://bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BKTK_...ls&ProdID=2728 <- coaster brake complete wheelset
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Old 11-26-22, 08:20 AM
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Nice find on that 2nd link, thanks!

That first link shows O.L.D. = 100 mm, if I'm following the right branch of the tree. Does that mean it'll fit in my 129 mm dropout spacing?
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Old 11-26-22, 11:03 PM
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??? 132mm
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Old 11-27-22, 12:06 AM
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FWIW: The 7 speed Nexus doesn't go as low in ratio as the 8 speed & isn't as efficient owing to the rough cast & surface finish of the gears.

The 8 speed, especially the one with roller bearings will be more efficient than the Nexus 7 & yield better climbing gears. (About 30gear inches with a 70x25-ish or 26x2.0 tire.)
Nevertheless, The graphs/tests I've seen measure the efficiency of the Alfine with the hub full of oil instead of (or in addition to grease) to give it every chance of equal apples to apples footing against the Rohloff.

So, what I am saying is: When you see a chart that shows the Alfine 8 is equally efficient in a few gears to a Rohloff It's worth keeping in mind that, that is only true when the Alfine 8 only when full of oil. It's not hard. Just wipe up any leaks & pack the cap with marine grease to hold the oil in. Refresh periodically.

Whether or not this is worth paying 7-10 times the cost for a Rohloff is up to you.

I own all 3, and other IGH's, too. I love my Rohloff now that it's broken in, which is something I can't say about the others no matter how many miles or how useful. But I wouldn't put a Rohloff on any bike that would ever leave my sight. It's simply too good, too overkill for a commuter. It's very much in the "Lifetime purchase" end of the spectrum.

They missed a real opportunity with the Loft. An 8 speed Alfine would've been a sweet spot in the category. Even more so that the current crop of Alfine 8's are durable enough to be now e-bike rated.

Just to confuse matters. If you do decide, for whatever reason to go Nexus: The Nexus 8 speed you want is the 8R36 That being 8 Speed Roller 3 clutches (& so far as I know) 6 roller bearings. Better known as the "Red band" Nexus; The poor man's Alfine 8. I welcome any correction.

Last edited by base2; 11-27-22 at 01:07 AM.
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Old 11-27-22, 11:15 AM
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Is that one available at retail right now? I was going by the Shimano website's lineup chart
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Old 11-27-22, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Is that one available at retail right now? I was going by the Shimano website's lineup chart



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